From the Indypendent:
In recent months some local residents have complained to the police of the day laborers presence around the Park. On several occasions police have removed the men, who use the park’s restrooms and benches during and after their meal, from the park.
In one incident on July 17th, 2009, the NYPD removed several men eating their Tuesday morning meals from the after receiving a 911 call claiming that men were urinating in public. Brynes responded in a statement saying, “since I have been coming to this park the last two years, I have never seen anyone urinate in the park”.
Hart Park has been a longtime flash point of between some local residents who complain that large number of men gather around the park, and the day laborers who who congregate in search for a job. 17 months into the economic downturn, Byrnes says that she has seen the number of meals she serves at her only Queens stop increase by 40-45%.
From the Queens Courier:
Two Latino workers claim that York Restoration Corporation, a construction company based in Long Island City, owes them back wages since 2008 for work performed on luxury high-rises in Manhattan. The undocumented workers, along with others seeking workers’ rights, have gathered twice – on May 22 and on Friday, November 6 – in front of the company’s building at 47-51 33rd Street to protest.
The two workers, Espinoza and Bustillo, said they worked without pay for two months before quitting and have also not received overtime pay. Each said they have proof they worked for York though they got paid in cash.
York’s attorney, Brian Goldberg, said he repeatedly asked for such proof, but has never obtained anything.
Goldberg called the protests aimed at York’s corporation “unfounded” because, as a general contractor, York has no employees on an hourly basis.
York considers this protest a “personal insult” to him.
“I am an honest man, and I have never fled from anyone,” he said, noting that he does not know Bustillo and Espinoza. He said he tried to call MRNY on several occasions, but never got through to anyone.
“It seems to me that this organization [MRNY] organizes these protests just for the press, photos, and publicity,” said York.
As for the DOL’s investigation into the company’s unfair labor practices, York and his attorney consider it closed.
Marie-Elena Fazio, DOL’s liaison in the division of labor standards in charge of investigating the complaint filed in March, spoke to York’s attorney Goldberg a few times in May, and told him that she would call back if there was an issue.
“She never called back,” said Goldberg, “so I’m assuming there is no issue.”